Where have I seen this before? From ectoplasmosis...
This is the logo for the Diabol Industrial Chemical Company of Paris, France. The logo, in use by 1931, may seem familiar to you. This may be because it bears a striking resemblance to certain masked vigilante. Rich Johnston, in his column for Comic Book Resources, lays out this daisy-chain of relationships:
Bob Kane worked at Max Fleischer Studios from 1934. Max’s brother, Dave Fleischer, was a director at the studio and had previously worked at the French film studio, Pathe.
Obviously, no mention of this logo has been mentioned in the official history of Batman’s creation. In his 1989 autobiography Kane presented the following recollection of how the character was designed, with the help of Bill Finger:
One day I called Bill and said, ‘I have a new character called the Bat-Man and I’ve made some crude, elementary sketches I’d like you to look at’. He came over and I showed him the drawings. At the time, I only had a small domino mask, like the one Robin later wore, on Batman’s face. Bill said, ‘Why not make him look more like a bat and put a hood on him, and take the eyeballs out and just put slits for eyes to make him look more mysterious?’ At this point, the Bat-Man wore a red union suit; the wings, trunks, and mask were black. I thought that red and black would be a good combination. Bill said that the costume was too bright: ‘Color it dark gray to make it look more ominous’. The cape looked like two stiff bat wings attached to his arms. As Bill and I talked, we realized that these wings would get cumbersome when Bat-Man was in action, and changed them into a cape, scalloped to look like bat wings when he was fighting or swinging down on a rope. Also, he didn’t have any gloves on, and we added them so that he wouldn’t leave fingerprints.
So there you have it. Does this game of Six Degrees of Bob Kane ring true, or is this a crazed conspiracy theory? Did the Dark Knight actually start out as a corporate shill? We may never know. However, it is interesting to note that Batsy’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 is entitled “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate”.
First story from Comic Book Resources
The logo for the Diabol Industrial Chemical company of Paris, France, in use at least by 1931.
Bob Kane worked at Max Fleischer Studios from 1934. Max's brother, Dave Fleischer, was a director at the studio and had previously worked at the French film studio, Pathe.
"The Batman" was created in 1939, credited to Bob Kane.
Is this too much of a stretch?